Students left in ‘mass hypnosis’ after demonstration goes awry

A group of young students at an all girls school were left in "mass hypnosis" after a demonstration from a fledging hypnotist reportedly left them locked in a trance.

Maxime Nadeau was forced to call on his mentor for assistance after the hypnotist could not reverse the condition of several 12 and 13-year-old girls at the Collège du Sacré-Coeur private school in Quebec. One of the girls was reportedly left in a trance for five hours.

"Being in a trance is a state of well-being," Nadeau told the CBC's French-language service. "I wasn't stressed. I knew they would get out of it."

Still, Nadeau eventually called in his mentor and trainer Richard Whitbread to reverse the effects.

"There were a couple of students who had their heads lying on the table and there were [others] who, you could tell, were in trance," Whitbread said. "The eyes were open and there was nobody home."

In order to reverse the effect, Whitbread says he convinced the girls he was "re-hypnotizing" them and them brought them out of the trance "using a stern voice."

"I don't know how to explain it. It's like you're no longer there," student Émilie Bertrand told the CBC about her experience. "You're spaced out."

Nonetheless, Bertrand described the experience as "cool" as said she would do it again, even knowing the potential consequences.

Interestingly, Whitbread said the girls may have been especially vulnerable to Nadeau's suggestions because of his young age and "good looks."

In related news, television host Dr. Oz recently interviewed "hypnotic motivational guru" Paul McKenna, who says he can help patients achieve long term weight loss through his techniques.